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The Master of Science in Biology program at Northeastern prepares you for a career in biological research and teaching as well as providing a foundation for further study for a professional degree or graduate degree.  We continue our flexible curriculum in our graduate program by providing three options for completion of the degree based on your life and career goals.  The majority of our graduate classes occur in the evenings allowing for part-time pursuit of your degree.

Admission to the Program 

The requirements for admission into the graduate program in biology are as follows:

  • A Bachelors degree in Biology or the course equivalent; including two semesters each of general biology, general chemistry and physics, and one semester each of Cell Biology, Ecology, Genetics, Organic Chemistry and Precalculus Mathematics or Statistics.
  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75 with a biology GPA of 3.0.
  • A one to two page state of Goals and Objectives written by you, demonstrating your writing skills and outlining your academic and professional goals as well as the reasons for selecting the Biology M.S program.
  • Two letters of recommendation from academic or professional references that can speak to your potential for success in graduate study.
  • The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is not required; however test scores may be submitted to supplement your application.

Degree Requirements 

There are three curricular options to choose from based on your specific goals.  No matter which course of study you chose, you will be required to take Biological Literature (BIO 405) in your first semester in the program.  You will also need to take one lab-based or field-based course or a research thesis during your studies.  You are also required to complete a portfolio of your academic writing, successes and progress throughout the course of your study.  If you chose a thesis based option, your thesis will also become part of your portfolio.

Graduate students in biology may choose from one of three options in completing their degree. The option is chosen after the student has applied for and been granted candidacy (after the completion of 12 credits hours in the program).

Option I: subject to the approval of the Department, the student may complete a research thesis.

Option II: complete a library thesis, or

Option III: select the non-thesis program.

The research-thesis option is recommended for individuals who desire a research-oriented program. The research experience is particularly suitable for those students who plan to do further graduate study and for those who are working in applied fields in biology.

The Library Thesis and Non-Thesis Options are recommended for those students who desire a more flexible approach to graduate training in biology.


1.  All students must complete: (a) BIO 405: Biological Literature, 3 cr.;  (b) a minimum of five courses from one of the following three concentration areas: Molecular/Cellular, Morphological/Physiological, or Ecological/Environmental Biology.

2.  Students in Option I (Research Thesis) must earn a minimum total of 33 credit hours (including BIO 405 and BIO 499 Research Thesis), and present an oral defense of their thesis.

3.  Students in Options II and III (Library Thesis and Non-thesis) must earn a minimum total of 36 credit hours, including BIO 405, BIO 491 Seminars in Biology, and in Option II only, BIO 497 Thesis Seminar.  Students in these options must also pass a graduate comprehensive exam to complete the program.

The graduate program is to be planned with the guidance of the graduate advisor in biology.

In accordance with the rules of the Graduate College, a maximum of nine credit hours of transfer credit may be accepted with the approval of the Department and the Graduate College.

Program Contact Information 

For more information regarding the Biology Graduate Program contact the Graduate Advisor, Dr. Mary Kimble at 773-442-5727 or


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